London Assault and Post –Attack Politics


İlknur Şebnem Öztemel - The Diplomatic Observer


What do we know so far?

  • Britain hit by the third terrorist attack in three months. Terrorists drove a high-speed van to innocent revelers on Saturday night at about 10 p.m.  7 people died and 48 including 21 in a critical position were wounded.  French authorities indicated that there were 4 citizens and Australian authorities declared that two citizens injured in the attack.
  • In Sunday afternoon, Deash claimed responsibility for the attack. It is alleged that Deash militants took the action for two reasons. Initially, they tried to compensate recent successes of coalition and Russia allied regime forces advanced territory against the terrorist organization in Syria.  Just a day before the attack, regime re-gained a strategically important road from Damascus to Aleppo from Deash militants. Secondly, a telegram released on Saturday urging its followers to launch attacks by trucks, knives and guns against "Crusaders" during Ramadan.
  • German Chancellor Angela Merkel, French President Emmanuel Macron, and American President Donald Trump voiced their sympathy to Brits immediately.

Merkel said "Today, we are united across all borders in horror and sadness, but equally in determination. I stress for Germany: In the fight against all forms of terrorism, West and firmly and decisively at the side of Great Britain".

Macron tweeted as “France is standing more than ever side by side with the UK.”

Most importantly Trump offered his condolences to British Prime Minister Theresa May and requested ‘’full support’’ to British politicians in investigating and bringing perpetrators to justice.  Also, he tried to revive his “right’’ view about the travel ban applied on tourists from seven Muslim countries even though the identity and nationality of terrorists have not been revealed yet. Whether they are nationals or foreigners, it is significant to remind that the previous attack in Manchester Arena was conducted by a British man and it is really detrimental to generalize. Moreover, he criticized the first Muslim mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, as he has mistaken to call Britons “not to be alarmed’’ and tacitly pointed that he acts “politically’’ and “not getting down to security’’.

He wrote on Twitter as "Whatever the United States can do to help out in London and the U.K. we will be there - WE ARE WITH YOU. GOD BLESS!"

In another Tweet, he stated "We need to be smart, vigilant and tough. We need the courts to give us back our rights. We need the Travel Ban as an extra level of safety!".

Furthermore, he attacked Khan as "At least 7 dead and 48 wounded in terror attack and Mayor of London says “There is no reason to be alarmed!”. In response to it, a spokesperson for Khan said: "He is busy working with the police, emergency services, and the government to coordinate the response to this horrific and cowardly terrorist attack". Added, "He has more important things to do than responding to Donald Trump's ill-informed tweet that deliberately takes out of context his remarks urging Londoners not to be alarmed when they saw more police - including armed officers - on the streets”.

Meanwhile, officers of “opponent’’ states that have not accepted his authority totally as president such as Los Angeles and New York, made significant statements opposing Trump’s focus on the travel ban and “security alarm’’.

For instance, L.A. Police Department tweeted “There is no credible threat or nexus to LA. We ask Angelenos to stay vigilant". Additionally, New York Police Department (NYPD) asserted that in Twitter as "Go about your Sat. night, NYPD cops are protecting you".

Just a day after these statements, a dismissed man attacked innocent people in his ex-work place in Orlando. It was not a terror attack.  However, there is no doubt that involuntarily people re-think about Trump’s crucial statements about security and travel ban.

  • Theresa May touched interesting points in her first speech after the attack.

In the historical speech that she gave in front of her Downing Street Office, she argued that there must be a new strategy to counter terrorism. She said, “It is time to say enough is enough".

Secondly, she suggested establishing a global consensus to ‘’narrow the iron line space down’’, regulate cyberspace and stop the spread of extremism.

Thirdly, she noted that there was no link between the three terrorist attacks, they were ‘’just copying one another’’ which but they were linked to “an evil ideology of Islamist extremism’’, similarly to Bush’s famous ‘’Axes of Evil’’ speech in 2001.  She said “They are bound together by the single evil ideology of Islamist extremism that preaches hatred, sows division, and promotes sectarianism. It is an ideology that is a perversion of Islam and a perversion of the truth”.  She added that defeating this “ideology’’ is one of the great challenges of our time and military measures were not enough to cope with this alone. She said “It is an ideology that claims our Western values and freedom, democracy and human rights are incompatible with the religion of Islam.”, adding that while the attacks are not directly connected’’. Nevertheless, there is conflict about the name of terror. In recent debates, there is a rising phenomenon to relate it more with the religion of Islam. Even some press channels refer it like that.

Above all, regardless of a day break to national campaign, she said the date of the parliamentary election would not be changed and it would be held on Thursday as regulated before. In 2001, Tony Blair postponed plans for a general election by a month, because of the foot-and-mouth crisis. It is alleged that the date of the election must not be delayed because it is required to change the law and Parliament was currently dissolved.


Britain and France totally reflect the ‘’European Opinion’’. Germany is a little bit different. It has risen as a power in the continent regarding its technological and financial success. Alarming French and Britons, especially create a consensus among them may change many things in World politics. There is no doubt that “Single European Identity’’ will be rewarded. May will probably lose in the elections and Corbyn will be the next PM of the country. Corbyn is a tougher leader than May in economics. He likes to raise taxes and nationalize businesses. In addition, he is less focused on Brexit negotiations than May does. (For a more detailed information about election in the UK- You can look to Despite, he said leaving the EU without an agreement would be an economic disaster, risking jobs across the country, he also said: "Theresa May will try to say that this is an election about Brexit while ignoring her government's failure and the issues that affect people's lives every day". 

As a result, it is highly possible that British PM will change, due to security concerns, single European identity will be volatilized and respecting some ''formal'' speeches, the anti-Muslim phenomenon will spread. What’s more, like Trump, his opponents will raise their voices about external issues too. Limits of American politics is extended.

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